Monthly Archives: January 2014

Topic: A Physics Primer

To be able to discuss environmental issues intelligently, you don’t have to have a deep science background. But to understand what is happening on a fundamental level, you really do need to know the science. Some time ago, I decided that for my next blog topic, I would tackle the subject of climate change from a scientific perspective. I am writing for a wide, general-interest audience, and I have no idea how familiar my readers are with the scientific principles I want to discuss. (I’m not a professional scientist myself, and my own scientific knowledge leaves a lot to be desired.) I therefore decided to write a physics primer where those readers who lacked a science background could fill themselves in with what they needed to know, and to which I could refer when I discussed a scientific concept that might not be familiar to everybody.

The project proved far more involved than I ever thought it would be. I thought I would just scribble a few posts and be done with it. I’ve ended up so far with 21 posts, and I’ve only finished six of them (not counting this one). I started in January 2014, it is now July, and I am far, far from finishing. I thought I’d better publish what I have now or it would be a long time before I’d have new material on my blog.

These first six posts are a review of the physical and chemical principles behind the existence of matter: atoms, molecules, ions, charge, mass, how to write chemical formulas and equations. Later posts will discuss energy, heat, and Earth’s climate system.

If you came here via a link, you can navigate between posts by clicking on the arrows that appear above the post heading. The right arrow (→) always points to the next post; the left arrow (←) always points to the previous post. In this particular post, the right arrow is labeled A Physics Primer 1: The Atomic Nature of Matter and points to the next post. The left arrow is labeled Welcome to the Environmental Analyst and points to the home page (that was unintentional, it just worked out that way). To return to the home page of the blog from any blog post, click the “Home” tab at the top of the page.

The posts are heavily footnoted. They don’t necessarily show where I got my information, but they do show that what I write has a basis. I also include additional information and observations in the footnotes, so if you have the time, check them out.

At the time of this writing, July 11, 2014, I have not had my posts reviewed by a professional scientist, so the chances are higher that I included some erroneous information. Be aware of this and don’t hesitate to challenge me if something I wrote doesn’t seem right to you.

While I do hold strong views on environment topics, this part of the discussion should be free of any partisan bias. If you find any, or if you have any other comment, please let me know. Feel free to type your comment on the bottom of the post, or send an email to . All constructive criticism is most welcome!

Welcome to The Environmental Analyst

Welcome to The Environmental Analyst, a blog dedicated to examining environmental problems of the day through the lens of environmental science. Subjects here are carefully researched and documented, and conclusions are drawn from the facts. I try to avoid writing simply to vent my feelings — for that, I maintain a separate blog, An Environmental Viewpoint, which you can read by clicking here.

Posts don’t appear very often here. They are usually thoroughly researched, written, revised, edited multiple times, and often documented with extensive footnotes, all of which are time consuming. The result is a blog that grows slowly but is more informative and I think harder to argue with. Please judge for yourself.

The best way to read my blog is to select one of the topics listed below and click on it, which will display the first post in the topic. Above each post heading are the navigation arrows. The right arrow (→) will carry you to the next post; the left arrow (←) will take you to the previous post. You can also read the blog by simply scrolling down, in which case you will encounter the posts in the reverse order they were posted, latest post first. To return to the home page at any time, click on the Home tab at the top of the page.

Please feel free to comment on any post. I can’t promise I’ll publish them, though; any comment must meet my standards of civility and good sense. But I welcome a good argument and I urge those who disagree with me to explain why they do so. I am not always right — far from it — and I welcome a good correction.

I hope you find this blog interesting and informative. If you wish, you can reach me by email at . Thanks for visiting!

Blog News

July 2014

I just changed the URL of this blog from to, to reflect its new name (the old name was Michael Klein’s Environmental Essays). This should make the URL a little easier to remember.

In anticipation of my foray into climate change, I’m writing a physics primer summarizing the scientific concepts I hope to discuss in my blog. I’ve finished the first six posts on the nature of matter. Please take a look and tell me what you think by clicking here.

Current List of Topics

Please click on a topic, else scroll down to read all posts in reverse chronological order.

EPA’s New Ozone Rule

In 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sought to lower the maximum concentration of ground-level ozone to 70 parts per billion, then on orders from the Obama Administration rescinded its rule. Was it wise in doing so?

Gun Homicides vs. Gun Ownership

Do rates of gun homicide in the various states correlate to rates of gun ownership? If so, is there anything to be learned?

Should the Wolf be Removed from the Endangered Species List?

In 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed removing the gray wolf from the protections of the Endangered Species Act. Should it do so?

A Physics Primer

A series of posts summarizing the scientific principles I think is important to understand environmental science. If I did my job well. this topic should be strictly non-partisan. As of July, I have six posts discussing the scientific principles behind the existence of matter.